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Doctor Who: The Green Death (Story 69)
Doctor Who The Green Death
Story 69
Actors: Richard Franklin, John Levene
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2005     2hr 33min

The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) joins the Brigadier and Jo Grant in South Wales to investigate the death of a miner whose fatal disease has left his skin bright green.DVD Features: — Audio Commentary — Interviews — Other — Photo gall...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Franklin, John Levene
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Jo's finest hour!
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 08/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Global Chemicals have a process that results in 25% more petrol from crude. While that may mean "more money, more jobs" it also means "more muck, more devastation, more death," as well as a doubling in atmospheric pollution. When a miner is found dead in the mine in Llanfairfach, South Wales, covered by a green phosphorescent glow akin to putrefaction, UNIT is alerted. The Doctor, however, wants to go to Metebelis Three to get one of their blue sapphires and Jo wants to help Nobel Prize-winning ecologist Professor Jones and his hippie group of scientists against Global Chemicals.Soon, two more deaths follow, and Jo and the Doctor discover the cause down the mine--a green petrochemical slime that causes death on contact. Worse, the slime has irradiated maggots to two feet in length who also kill on contact.The Brigadier, and the Doctor (after a perilous but successful expedition at M3) work against Global Chemicals and the director, Jocelyn Stevens. However, in Episode 1, Stevens is seen talking to (himself?), as if he's under control by someone else.Professor Jones reminds Jo of a younger version of the Doctor. He believes in using alternative energy sources, such as solar power, movements of the wind, tides, and rivers. No waste means no pollution. Stewart Bevan, then Katy Manning's beau, is a most welcome guest performer as the progressive but ecologically conscious Jones.This is Jo's show all the way. She did well as the Doctor's assistant, but here, she's more than just a pretty face. Her concern and compassion whenever the Doctor is near death is shown to its best when she hears of the death of Bert, a "funny little Welshman" she only met for a few hours down the mine, but whom she felt was very special. Jones' comforting words to her are magic here. She chooses to go to South Wales instead of "all the time and space being offered" to her by the Doctor. As the Doctor says quietly, "So, the fledgling flies the coop." His reaction after he says goodbye to her at story's end tells his fondness of her.For a good example of Who, Episode One is simply packed with action and a chain of events that draw the viewer in. The writhing and hissing maggots are well-constructed. They used fox skulls for those up close, and for those far away, inflated condoms! No joke!Note: Tony Adams (Elgin) fell ill midway through production and so his lines were carried on by Mr. Dalek voice himself, Roy Skelton (Mr. James) in Episode 5. John-Scott Martin (Hughes) is best known for as being one of the men inside the Daleks. Roy Evans (Bert) later appeared next season in The Monster Of Peladon as Rima.
As for errors, notice the hand at the bottom right of screen giving Mostyn Evans (Dai) his cue to speak in Episode One. The CSO effects aren't that good when people go down the mine in the lift. And why use CSO and film intermittently in the "field of maggots"?Katy Manning not only had three seasons as one of the series' most memorable and lovable companions, but had the best farewell story of any companion. The danger on pollution and condemnation against irresponsible corporations who flagrantly poison the Earth so that the ends (more fuel and money for everyone) justify the means, is still relevant--why else were films like A Civil Action and Erin Brockovich made over twenty years later?Jo's rallying words at the beginning of Episode One still serves as a reminder today: "It's time that the world awoke to the alarm bells of pollution instead of sliding down the slippery slopes of..." Slopes to ruin, yes. Bye, Jo. We'll miss you!"
An American in London first view of Dr. Who!
Indigo Larson | Dallas, TX | 12/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Okay I grew up on the original Star Treks and one day my family went to live in England for 3 years. I was going on 9 at the time.One weekday, after hearing about this show called Dr. Who from school mates, I got to see the first episode of the Green Death and was hooked on Dr. Who until returning to the states.Naturally, my return to the states actually meant an end to me seeing Dr. Who until going to college in which local public TV stations ran the 3,4, & 5 doctor shows on Friday nights.The Green Death, features the overtones of the misuse of the environment. A chemical company secretly pumps its waste into their end of a mine shaft. Overtime the miners start to discover strange green slime and a few go missing in the event.UNIT is called in, and Dr. Who takes the lead into seeking out the missing miners and the apparent green death. His discovery reveals that maggot-like creatures have mutated via the chemical waste and now nature is taking its due back.Seeing this again on VHS, not only sparked the memory of seeing this first the first time, its brings the Doctor back into my family's enjoyment of such a timeless series!I only wish that the BBC would consider to release Dr. Who on the DVD format in the US if only to preserve this series for future generations. The American fans brought Star Trek back from the dead, we can support the Doctor just as well!!!"
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 04/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a "Doctor Who" fan for over 20 years. I'm at least a foot taller than I was in 1984, and I've even made a slight improvement on the hairstyle I had when I was eleven. The only constant for most of those years is that I've been supremely indifferent to "The Green Death", even though in all other respects I'm a ravenous Pertwee fan. I mean, my Windows desktop theme is all about the Jon Pertwee Doctor, and the startup music is Pertwee's nightmarish disco rendition of "I Am The Docctor". I just haven't had much time for this story, that's all.

So here's a story that's massively improved by the amount of goodwill that the Restoration Team poured into this disc.
The cast & crew audio commentary is for once surprisingly on point and relevant. Crew (producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks) outnumbers the cast (actress Katy manning) two to one, so the pointless actors' anecdotes that we got on prior DVD releases ("My goodness, Fraser, wasn't he tall?") are limited here. Katy Manning does announce at the end of Episode One that it all held together really well, which is obviously part of the script, someone says that on the commentary at the end of every Episode One on every "Doctor Who" DVD release to date. But, by the end of the story, she's actually been reduced to tears at watching Jo Grant's extended departure sequence. That's surprisingly moving stuff.

The text commentary, by the usually stuffy Richard Molesworth, turns in the same performance you'd expect. There's a list of all the TV shows that Fourth Extra on the Left appeared in on the Beeb in the 1960s. It is interesting to note that all the deleted scenes referenced on the text track, are incorporated into Malcolm Hulke's cynical novelization of the story (the one that featured scenes written from the maggots' point of view). As I read the novelization alongside the DVD, I found it rather surprising to learn that Hulke just worked from the draft script -- I'd always thought he'd been adding his own embellishments.

The extra documentaries are varied and cute. Story writer Robert Sloman, and guest actor Stewart Bevan (whose Nobel Prize-winning character married Jo and took her away from the Doctor) show up for mercifully brief interviews. Of more interest is the comic "Global Conspiracy" segment, in which erstwhile Who writer Mark Gatiss (in over-the-top awful makeup) interviews three actors from "The Green Death", playing the same characters they played in 1974. How many other TV shows on DVD do you know, for example, that would do this? Did Marj Dusay get back into "Spock's Brain" character on the Star Trek: TOS Season Three DVD?

"The Green Death" itself is all over the map, in that typical Pertwee way. It's hard to be offended by that now, when even a 45-minute story with the new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, has its share of slow spots. The environmental text (evil corporation poisons the coal mines; giant mutated maggots and dead Welsh miners emerge) uneasily marries the comic evil computer subplot. BOSS spends most of Episode Six humming classical music and singing the word "Connect" to the tune of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, which is not a joke I picked up on in the 1980s. There's probably more menace to John Dearth's repeated, eager enunciation of the word "Stevens" then there is to the deadly maggot that one actor wiggled around his throat as if it had just jumped up to bite him.

In 1974-o-vision, the giant fly that emerges from the maggot in Episode Six looks ridiculous, and Letts expresses the wish that he'd removed the Doctor's line, "What a beautiful creature!", because it quite obviously wasn't. However, the DVD doesn't pass judgment, and features an extended interview with one of the visual effects guys, who even builds another maggot for us out of foam and spray paint.

I also see in Letts' and Dicks' stewardship, the embryo of the ongoing story arcs of today's sci-fi programs. Seeds are planted (Metebelis 3, the blue sapphire) that resonate a year later. Tertiary characters (Mike Yates) get extended character arcs. Maybe Letts doesn't get enough credit for what he achieved after five years in charge.

So these "Doctor Who" DVDs still manage to find something original and poignant to say about a story made 31 years ago. Odds are if that if you're buying "The Green Death" you've probably seen it at least six times already, and you probably didn't love it then either. However, the DVD forces you to look at the story in whole different ways, and even the producer can still laugh at it. "Doctor Who" is a new show again, but these DVDs make the distant past well worth exploring."
J. Grant | Atlantic Beach, Florida United States | 09/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Anyone who enjoys the classic Doctor Who series will without a doubt enjoy "The one with the Maggots" as it is known. Features the departure of Katy Manning who portrayed Jo Grant from 1971-1973.
The commentary is special as actress Katy Manning is delightful to listen to as she reflects back her moments with late Jon Pertwee. As she watches her departure scene, Katy breaksdown and cries as she realizes how much she misses Jon. That alone is worth the DVD. Its very touching."